The 2014 Stratford Festival: The Musicals

I was intending to have the rest of my Stratford Festival season reviews done by today, but I only had time to do the musicals. Let's start with Man of La Mancha, a musical based on the life of Miguel de Cervantes and his famous novel, Don Quixote. At the end of the show, the leading lady, Aldonza, who has basically spent most of the last two hours being angry, ground into the dirt, and angry that she is being ground into the dirt, finally embraces the new identity that Don Quixote has given her. It's quite a powerful moment, and when I saw it at Stratford, this happened:

Now, I've seen Man of La Mancha several times before, and, as a cynical and inherently frivolous person, I must confess that it's not my favorite musical. However, it is very effectively designed to push people's emotion buttons, and one can't argue with an entire theatre of people who have clearly been profoundly moved by it, especially the gentlemen behind me who felt the need to audibly praise Aldonza's moment of self-actualization at the end. 

Crazy For You, a musical written around some of Geroge and Ira Gershwin's best songs, is much more my style - totally frivolous with a ludicrous plot, lots of catchy songs and fantastic dance numbers. Stratford does this sort of thing very well, especially with director/choreographer Donna Feore at the helm. If any show rivaled the sheer, unbridled joy of A Midsummer Night's Dream, it was this one. The definition of a toe-tapper. 

I will be back on Monday, although Monday's comic might be a bit late as I am embarking on a weekend road trip to go rock climbing with some friends. I might be posting sporadic updates on Twitter, if you feel like cyber-stalking me. If not, I'll see you on Monday! Have a simply lovely weekend.